NET WORTH: $120 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: NBA Player
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Chicago and Miami Community
OVERVIEW: Dwyane Wade moves philanthropy through Wade’s World Foundation, which provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations.
BACKGROUND: Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. was born in 1982 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Marquette University, helping lead his squad to its first Final Four since the late 1970s. Drafted by the Miami Heat in 2003, he led the Heat to their first ever title just three years later against the Dallas Mavericks. Later, alongside Lebron James, Wade won two more championships in 2012 and 2013. He is a 2006 NBA finals MVP and 12 Time All-Star and retired in 2019. Away from the court, Wade launched his DSquared2 line at Saks Fifth Avenue and has a stake in and a multi-million annual guarantee with Chinese brand Li-Ning.
Gabrielle Union was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1972 and grew up in Pleasanton, California. She attended University of Nebraska, and later UCLA, where she graduated with a sociology degree in 1996. After an internship in the office of a modeling agency, Union was invited to get in front of the camera. Union has since been in movies like Bring It On, and Deliver Us from Eva. And on television, she starred in the long running Being Mary Jane on BET.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Wade’s World Foundation “provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health, and social skills for children in at-risk situations.” Wade himself was born into a poor family eventually forced to go on welfare. As he once put it, “I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become. Like my mother always tells me, ‘My life is bigger than basketball.’”
Since 2003, Wade and his family have been focused on the two communities with which they have personal ties — Chicago and South Florida. Wade has hosted a free basketball camp for nearly 600 youth from the Robbins, Illinois, area as well as “A Week of Wade’s World in South Florida” – a week long series of events and appearances that touched hundreds of South Florida kids.
Wade’s World Foundation has developed several seasonal giving events benefiting families in the Chicago and South Florida area including 3 Under the Tree, Home Invasions, the Family First Grant, A Day Away and its annual Thanksgiving giveaways. The foundation’s LIVE TO DREAM Program “supports youth in underserved communities through exposure to an array of diverse activities, education, and training to ignite, expand, and nurture the raw talents, abilities and aspirations of our young people.”
The foundation has also supported places like Willie Mae Morris Empowerment Center, “a non profit organization created to break down barriers and transform lives of families”; Ponce De Leon Middle School; Urban Prep Academies; Barnyard of Coconut Grove; and New Creation Binding and Loosing Ministries Int'l, a religious outfit in Chicago.
OTHER: Wade’s World Foundation’s grantmaking has also touched organizations like the ALS Association. Gabrielle Union, meanwhile, is a breast cancer advocate and has worked with Susan G. Komen. The forces here are personal, as her best friend passed away from the disease.
LOOKING FORWARD: After a long hoops career, Wade recently retired from pro sports. Perhaps this will free up more bandwidth for philanthropy. The foundation’s website indicates the family has global ambitions with their mission of youth empowerment.
Wade’s World Foundation, Inc.
3109 Grand Avenue, PMB 447
Miami, FL 33133
LINK: Dwyane Wade Website